One questions: how can I keep my daughter off of the “creamy crack?” Yes, I am referring to a perm or relaxer that turns afro hair into straight hair, (a la Whitney Houston and Oprah Winfrey). Chris Rock posed a similar question as he set out to produce the documentary Good Hair. In my post entitled Comedians and Docs, I touched on the issue of well known-funny guys producing funny documentaries. In the case of Rock’s Good Hair, he did a good job using humor to tackle what has been a taboo topic in the black community. He’s got us talking about our hair in a very open way. I’m sure his appearance on Oprah was a big help.
Using the flamboyant, hyped up, super charged Bronner Brothers hair show in Atlanta as the through-line added a since of drama, educational moments and a fair share of surprises. But the movie raises some good points too: why do black women straighten their hair? Why do the men who love them bankroll thousand-dollar weaves? What is the chemical process for making relaxers? And, where does all that hair come from to make a good weave? The most pertinent point for me was that the industry of whitening black hair is a billion dollar industry with only four black manufacturers. The industry is largely controlled by whites and Asians. As Reverend Al Sharpton points out, giving that kind of money away is like volunteer slavery.
Good Hair had a couple of uncomfortable moments when Chris Rock played a buffoon for the benefit Asian shop keepers to draw out a point. But perhaps the ends justified the means. I was disappointed at the lack of discussion about WHY so many people seek perms and weaves. Is there a disconnect for black women to proudly love our lips and hips but not our hair? Also, lot of my sisters with natural hair were disappointed that the movie did not discuss natural hair at length. But that’s not what the movie was about. The movie was about getting “good hair.”
Kudos to Chris Rock for getting celebrities like Ice-T, Raven Symone and Nia Long to talk about this touchy subject. Good Hair gets a thumbs up from me because as a black woman, I learned a lot about the black women’s hair care industry and had a couple of laughs to boot. In the meantime, I’ll prepare myself for my daughter’s style and fashion decisions to be what they will. When do I start worrying about body piercing?